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Interdisciplinary Network of Researchers in Touch

Program detail

Thursday 25th July, 2019

18:00-19:00: Posters & wine in Social Space, A22Force Production during Tactile Exploration in Older and Younger Adults

Loomes A, Roberts R, Allen H, Wing A

Age-related changes in vision and audition are well documented to date, however, age-related changes of touch and tactile perception are less known. Here, the effects of ageing are examined with a force production task. Older adults are compared with younger adults on several aspects of tactile exploration, including cutaneous spatial resolution, manual dexterity, force production, friction generation, and a tactile sensitivity questionnaire. Older adults exhibited less tactile sensitivity than younger adults as well as a lower cutaneous spatial resolution at the fingertip. These results show that ageing results in a reduction of sensitivity at the fingertip. Therefore, higher production of forces during the exploration of textures is used to compensate for the loss of sensitivity, in order to provide adequately strong signals to the remaining mechanoreceptors. From the current results obtained, further studies will be using similar assessments with brain imaging methods to investigate these effects at a cortical level of age on tactile sensitivity.

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